How to Vanquish a Virus: The Weird World of Viruses Explained!

Welbeck. Jul. 2021. 128p. Tr $9.95. ISBN 9781783127313.
Gr 4-8–An introduction to the world of viruses that takes a decidedly upbeat approach to the current global pandemic. Cross covers a lot of territory about the world of viruses in only eight chapters. Beginning with a general background on viruses and how they function, the focus then shifts to the specifics of various coronaviruses: MERS, SARS, the common cold, and the culprit of our current pandemic, COVID-19. Readers are warned about the dangers of misinformation and how to determine if scientific information is from reputable sources. Chapters then turn to more basic human biology, such as a description of cells, the role of DNA and RNA, and an explanation of how our immune system works to keep harmful viruses at bay. A brief history of vaccine science is presented, as well as a discussion of the vital role that scientists, researchers, and participants (those who volunteered for vaccine trials) played in the successful production of the current vaccines in use. Each chapter ends with a suggested activity, such as creating a face covering or inventing an imaginary new medicine. The importance of attending to one’s mental health is stressed throughout. Well-placed and engaging illustrations and sidebars break up the text.
VERDICT While it doesn’t shy away from naming the dangers of viruses, in particular COVID-19, this work focuses on reassuring young readers that progress is being made in the efforts to combat the virus. A useful addition for middle school libraries.

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